Heartbreak is a cruel mistress – it is something we all risk when falling in love, and when we are struck down by it there is little else to do but ride out the pain. For some people, it can be a soul-crushing experience that they never truly recover from. For others, though, it can be the catalyst and motivation for fundamental change, a change that could only have risen from the ashes of a former life set aflame and burned to the ground.
The latter is exactly was happened to a Japanese man known as Shirapyon. He had grown perhaps too comfortably into middle age, and so was thrown into a sense of disarray when his wife quite suddenly left him. The self-described “sad, bald middle-aged guy” was left with the choice of wallowing in drink-fuelled self-loathing or getting back into the fitness regimes he used to partake in when he was younger. He chose to throw himself into bodybuilding with gusto and has never looked back.
“I divorced 5 years ago, and for a while, I was drinking only liquor,” Shirapyon told Bored Panda. “But then I remembered my youth suddenly. I thought that I’d like to participate in a bodybuilding contest.”
“I lost weight in my own style, I lost 12 kilograms through diet and hard work at the gym. At my first contest, I did not qualify. But I loved the challenge and have now been competing in bodybuilding contests for 4 years.”
As you can see for yourself, Shirapyon has maintained an impressive commitment to his hobby, spending plenty of time in the gym in his free time and regularly placing highly in various bodybuilding events. Working a day job for a company that deals with medical equipment, his reason for sharing his transformative story is not simply to show off his rippling torso. “I’m happy to be the cause from which someone change has begun,” he told us, explaining that he is proof that it’s never too late to turn your life around. “If you want to be reborn, do it while you’re still alive,” he says.
Shirapyon’s journey into bodybuilding has also lead to a new love; he has since met a bikini fitness model and they are very happy together. “I changed my body, and destiny was changed,” he told us. “It doesn’t have to be bodybuilding that creates the spark. It can be swimming, a marathon, any hobby. Anything that takes perseverance to improve oneself. I fight against myself, not others.”
So if you find yourself drifting into a middle-aged malaise, maybe your relationship has broken down or life has simply started to weigh you down, take some inspiration from this strong, dedicated man. “Don’t make excuses until you’ve tried everything that you possibly can,” he often says.
Life is everything that you yourself make of it, and the opportunity for change is always there if you want it badly enough. If you ever start to doubt yourself, keep Shirapyon’s motto in mind!
As well as his bodybuilding exploits, Shirapyon has found modeling and commercial opportunities through his new healthy lifestyle. He has also cosplayed as the famous anime character Tien Shinhan, from Dragon Ball Z.